As big of a year 1986 was for thrash metal (Reign in Blood, Master of Puppets and Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying? Check, check and check!) one of the most influential and best debut albums ever came out on this day in 1987. Guns N’ Roses’ Appetite For Destruction was released to an unsuspecting public on July 21, 1987. The album didn’t take off immediately, for several reasons. First of all, this was pre-SoundScan, so actual sales weren’t reported then. Secondly, the original cover (pictured) wasn’t the most, um, store-friendly artwork (it was later replaced by the ubiquitous cross logo with the band members’ skulls). The album took over a month to debut on the Billboard chart, debuting at the relatively low position of 182. We know what happened after that. Thanks to MTV, radio, and the insane catchiness of the album, it went on to ascend the charts, reaching #1 about a year after that, and has gone on to sell over 18 million copies.
Appetite for Destruction captures the sound and attitude of a young, hungry L.A. band that not only wanted to make it, they needed to. It’s a legacy to hard rock/metal in the late ’80s, and set the tone for the next four years of popular hard rock. The members that made the album are another story, however. W. Axl Rose, Slash, Izzy Stradlin, Duff McKagan and Stephen Adler have gone on to varying degrees of success, so we thought we’d point out what they’re up to these days. Since Slash is ubiquitous, he’s how we’re going to rank the other members of the band:
Slash: The top hat wearing guitarist has been…well everywhere. Whether it’s at the Grammys, at the Super Bowl, at a Lakers game, or even in a Disney made for TV movie, the chances are you’ve caught Slash wailing away on guitar somewhere in the world. Oh, and he’s found the time to record some music as well. In addition to making oddball appearance on other musicians’ records, Slash has also recorded two Slash’s Snakepit albums and (most recently) a solo album featuring multiple singers. The post-GN’R project he’s most popular for, though, is Velvet Revolver, which also features fellow GN’R members Duff McKagan and Use Your Illusion era drummer Matt Sorum. However, VR have been having trouble finding a new singer as of late. But basically, we get the impression that Slash would play your accountant’s daughter’s bar mitzvah if the money was right.
Ubiquity: 10 Slashes
Stephen Adler: The band’s original drummer was kicked out of the group in 1990 because of his heroin addiction. Since then, Adler has had multiple bouts with drugs and the law, and even suffered a stroke in 1996. His most successful post-GN’R musical project is Adler’s Appetite (a GN’R/classic rock cover band). However, it’s Adler’s appearances on Celebrity Rehab that brought him back to the public spotlight. Adler was a cast member on the VH1 reality TV show’s second season, and returned to the show this year just for a “good tune-up.” So he’s in the public eye, but not necessarily in a good way.
Ubiquity: 6 Slashes
Axl Rose: He’s the frontman and mastermind of the group, so wouldn’t you think he’d be the first and most ubiquitous member? Well, no. See, Rose is, to put it nicely, kind of insane. By 1997, all the non-Rose personnel on Appetite had either quit or been fired from the band. Rose spent the majority of the ’90s secluded from the public eye and working on the next Guns N’ Roses album, Chinese Democracy. That album didn’t come out until 2008, and sounded like an album that had been created over the course of 15 years. While there were a few “Guns N’ Roses” tours featuring Rose and whoever else has been in the revolving door of musicians, after the album flopped (mainly due to him refusing to promote it), he’s dropped out of the public eye once again.
Ubiquity: 3.14 Slashes (from some of the pictures that popped up in recent years, it seems like he likes pie)
Duff McKagan: Like Slash, the bassist’s most popular post-GN’R music project is Velvet Revolver. He’s also been fronting his own band Duff McKagan’s Loaded since leaving GN’R in 1997. However, McKagan has been doing very well for himself outside of music, at least financially. In 1994, Duff took somefinance courses at Santa Monica Community College, and in 2000 enrolled in Seattle University’s Albers School of Business. McKagan even had his own financial column for Playboy Magazine called “Duffonomics,” and more recently started his own money management firm Meridian Rock. It’s nice to see at least one former GN’R member maintaining a steady cash flow without having to appear on reality TV or with Fergie.
Ubiquity: 2 Slashes
Izzy Stradlin: Out of all the members of Guns N’ Roses, the rhythm guitarist has probably been the most low key. Since leaving the group in 1991 shortly after Use Your Illusion 1 and 2, Stradlin went on to release multiple solo albums with his group The Ju Ju Hounds. Some of these albums even featured appearances from Duff McKagan (recently it was rumored that the two’s solo projects would tour together until Duff played down the rumors). Izzy was originally offered to join Velvet Revolver and even helped contribute music in the band’s very early stages. However, unwilling to do massive touring and to work with a singer (Slash would later claim that working with Axl did a number on Izzy), Izzy turned them down. Stradlin has since joined both Velvet Revolver and Axl’s version of Guns N’ Roses multiple times.
Ubiquity: 1 Slash